Friday roundup: Beckham sued over MLS land purchase, Browns’ flammable stadium, and more!

It’s Friday roundup time! Let’s get started:

  • A local Miami landowner is suing Miami-Dade County over its plan to sell land to David Beckham’s would-be MLS ownership group for a new stadium, arguing that the no-bid deal violates state law requiring public land to be sold to the “highest and best bidder.” Bruce Matheson, who owns land nearby the planned stadium site in the Overtown neighborhood but “spends most of his time aboard his 72-foot Argosy yacht,” according to Miami New Times, has previously blocked the use of a public park for expansion of the Miami Open tennis tournament, so he might just know what he’s doing here. Also, David Beckham is clearly cursed, so that can only help Matheson’s case.
  • In case it wasn’t clear that Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center subsidy deal was a complete disaster from last October’s report that the city was losing almost $10 million a year and the arena was in danger of going bankrupt, Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center is a complete disaster. One big reason why: sales-tax projections were based on past sales-tax growth, which included a sales-tax rate hike in 1990, which wasn’t going to happen again. Whoops! The latest plan is to have the city bail out the arena by taking on an extra $100 million in debt, which tenants the University of Louisville could pay off with less than four years’ worth of the profits they’re making on running the place, but won’t because finders keepers, losers weepers.
  • Wichita is about to spend $60 million on a new stadium for the indy-minor-league Wichita Wingnuts — slogan: If You’re Gonna Go, Then Go Nuts! — and the manager of nearby Picasso’s Pizza is excited about it: “People from all over the Wichita area love some Picasso’s,” says Efrain Ramirez. “Because we’re Picasso’s, you gotta make it look cool, it’s gotta be artistic. You gotta put your flair on it.” Well, excited about something, anyway. Spare a thought for the poor small-city reporter who has to wring a quote about economic development out of a pizzeria manager, okay?
  • Speaking of sports venues and local businesses, some bar owners near the Detroit Red Wings‘ new downtown arena are excited about it, while others are worried they’ll get “trampled” by the “big guys.” No interviews were conducted by the Detroit News with bar owners near the Red Wings’ old downtown arena, which will now close. This has been your moment in 21st-century journalism.
  • The Cleveland Browns‘ stadium is covered in the same flammable cladding that caused the deadly Grenfell Tower fire, but Cleveland’s top building official promises this poses “zero risk to the fans.” Presumably because if you’re watching a Browns game, death will come as sweet release.
  • The turf at the San Francisco 49ers stadium in Santa Clara continues to suck.
  • The Roma soccer club is owned by Americans, so they are naturally inclined to levy stadium threats. It also plays in Italy’s Serie A, which like all soccer leagues outside the U.S. works by promotion and relegation, so if the team threatened to move, Rome could just start a new team to replace it. So instead team president James Pallotta is threatening that if the ownership group doesn’t get approval to build a new stadium, they’ll sell the team to … someone who won’t demand a new stadium? You may not have thought this entirely through, James.
  • A Russian farmer has built a stadium out of straw to poke fun at the $700 million St. Petersburg is spending on a new World Cup soccer stadium. Cost of the straw stadium: $675. Be sure to click the link above for a truly bizarre Russian video for 2016 with a giant straw bear and a straw sphinx and … watermelons? Guys, I am slightly worried about whoever’s in charge of media links for ESPN.
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15 comments on “Friday roundup: Beckham sued over MLS land purchase, Browns’ flammable stadium, and more!

  1. Beckham paid a sq ft price equal to the adjacent 9 acres he previously bought on the public market. Much like economic impact studies , appraisals can be manipulated. Bruce Matheson knows this and is just trying to block Beckham as a favor to his buddy Jeff Loria. Funny how this activist was MIA when the city was gifting 2.6 billion to the Marlins let alone the billion to the Heat.

  2. This doesn’t seem so hard. There are plenty of places that tell us the best determination of value. Just use one.

    That said, while it is easy to “game” appraisal its not hard to know whether or not land is being sold in a no-bid deal, which seems more relevant. Easy to fix–have an open sales process!

  3. “Because we’re Picasso’s, you gotta make it look cool, it’s gotta be artistic. You gotta put your flair on it.”

    This reads so much like an Onion quote that I’m now skeptical the story is legit, or that anyplace named “Wichita” actually exists.

  4. Australia also does not use promotion and relegation.

    And Mexico’s Liga MX – a very popular league among many Americans – uses three years of results – not just one – to determine which small club goes down to their second division, because the big clubs never do, and if they do, they just buy the rights to another club and move it.

  5. Sixty million buck to build a ballpark for an indy team that draws 3,000 people per game? Something tells me the pols are doing this because they want to get Wichita back into organized baseball. The Wingnuts can keep playing at Lawrence-Dumont. I’ve called games on radio from the NBC World Series there and while it’s definitely an older ballpark, it’s still quite functional, has a ton of history and is more than adequate for an American Association team.

    And as for Bruce Matheson, he sounds like just one more rich guy who likes to play the gadfly because people will notice him, but he’s probably right about that no-bid thing regarding the sale of publicly-owned land.

    1. Funny thing is that Bruce Matheson is willing to drop suit if county sells land to him instead at same price. So his suit has nothing to do with no-bid process and everything to do with stopping MLS in Miami.

      1. Really?
        So he’s saying that it’s not a good deal for the taxpayers unless he is the main beneficiary?


  6. Roma Ultras vs. James Pallotta ? He might not have thought this cunning plan all the way through.

  7. Would seem like the best deal for taxpayers if they just followed the open bid rules. The usual soccer-fan defensiveness, nor Mr. Matheson’s motives, don’t really need to play a role.

    1. If only the open bid laws were applied across the board to all businesses and sport leagues.

      1. Yesterday dolphins owner warned MLS not to set up business in Miami. I wonder why the owners of the other teams in town are running scared & so defensive. Everyone knows MLS is on the verge of collapse.

  8. I still think Sacramento’s arena deal will top Yum! Just look at this for August:

    1: Ed Sheeran with James Blunt.
    2: Neil Diamond.
    13: Kendrick Lamar.
    15: Lady Gaga
    25: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.

    That’s the entire schedule for August. How in the world can they survive with a schedule that light? It’ll be 135 events for its first 12 months, many of which made the City no money. How is this going to work?

    I bet they’re down to 120 events next year, including 9 free events to the City.

      1. Sadly, the way they constructed the deal won’t help. Premium parking rates only go into effect when events draw 15,500 or more. So say they bring back the Monarchs. That’d be 20 new nights of events with no revenue increase for the City — because there’s no way a WNBA team will come close to averaging 15,500.

        Basically, I just don’t know what pro team we could add that would increase City revenues. Even if the 15,500 add $10 each to City revenues. I really think this is doomed.

  9. RE: bars around Joe Louis Arena (the old Red Wings home); there really aren’t many, because the building location (sandwiched between the river, a convention center, and a six-lane expressway) was not conducive to a walk-up crowd. Those bars and restaurants in the area (the Anchor, Tommy’s Detroit, umm…. um… huh) will continue on by doing the same thing they’ve done previously, and what establishments around the old Tiger Stadium have continued to do with Comerica Park/Ford Field; run shuttle service to the arena and back.

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